Cleaning up Faro

According to one local shopkeeper, the streets of Faro are turning into a rubbish tip. “After more than three phone calls to the authorities,” he explained, “the municipal services came to empty the overflowing rubbish bins and clear up the litter left all over the pavements outside my shop. There is always rubbish in the streets around here as, in general, people don’t do anything about it. They leave bags of rubbish on the floor instead of in the bins, as if it were normal.”

In fact, this problem is so common in Faro that the municipal services department in the city ran three awareness campaigns last year, in order to inform people of the correct way to dispose of their household rubbish. However, the residents of Faro apparently continue to drop litter in the streets without a second thought, and it has been reported that bins overflowing with rubbish can be seen all over the city.

In the summer, this pollutes the air and, when it rains, the rubbish runs into the drains. Even though Ecopontos, special bins where people can dispose of rubbish for recycling, are dotted around the city, according to local residents, people continue to leave their waste beside these bins instead of in them. The problem of dogs fouling on the pavements is also chronic in Faro. Special dog bins can be found in some areas of the city and residents are encouraged to pick up their dogs’ faeces, but in other parts of Faro, the problem is described as ‘out of control’. A spokesman from the Municipal Services admitted: “There are no plans at the moment to create doggy toilets, so pedestrians are going to have to continue to watch where they put their feet.” He went on to explain that new domestic communal rubbish bins “are installed whenever the service thinks it is necessary”. He also revealed that underground rubbish bins would be constructed in the Vale da Amoreira district and that, in the not too distant future, more Ecopontos will be set up throughout the Faro area.

The roads in Faro are cleaned by a private company, SUMA, which ensures that the streets are swept manually and mechanically, washed, that litter is picked up and that the communal rubbish bins and Ecopontos are cleaned. But the authorities have admitted that, in spite of the work done by SUMA, it is extremely difficult to ensure that certain areas of the city are kept clean, as some areas are not cleaned every day.

In a final bid to clean up the city’s streets, an awareness campaign, aimed at the residents of Faro, is soon to be launched. The campaign includes the distribution of leaflets explaining how domestic waste and out-of-date medicines should be disposed of, along with information about recycling and cleaning up after dogs.